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Post # 1000

Four and a half years, four servers, three jobs, two schools, and one small sampling of a life.

Today, Checksum Arcanius celebrates its 1,000th post.

Oh, What a Day

So far, at least…

Woke up feeling sick

Car’s inoperable sun-roof was leaking rainwater into the cabin

Locked myself out of the car

Locked myself out of work

Yet, if these are the greatest of my worries, life is pretty good.

Longest Internship of My Life

This just out in the Microvision Employee Newsletter, “Birthdays and Anniversaries” Section.

March Anniversary
Ryan McElroy – 4 years

It has been an interesting, challenging, and fun four years. I have learned a ton, had lots of great opportunities, and worked with a lot of great people.

If I recall correctly (and looking though my archives, it appears that I do recall correctly), my fifth year begins on the Ides of March.

Google Offer

:-) (!)

Google Tests the Water

Google thinks that my skills would make me a good candidate for a Software Developer in Test. I have to say that the assessment bummed me out a little. My initial reaction was that I’ve done test; I was hoping to move on to a development job. Specifically a development job in a group with the TA who started the whole Google ball rolling for me.

I tried to start feeling good about it. I read some posts from the Google Testing Blog where it was clear that development is a big part of what their testers do. The main part, really. The recruiter set up a phone chat between myself and a Google testing manager. We talked about a variety of topics: the high Dev to Tester ratio; how the job stays interesting, how it really is a development position; how the job can give me a chance to be involved in a product at many more levels than as a normal developer; and about some of the specific meaty problems that the SDTs at Google have solved. It was a good conversation, but something was still bugging me. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but now I think I’ve figured it out.

Even if Google testers are different, even if they are “revered” as the recruiter put it, making sure something works right simply isn’t the same as making something that does work right. I’ll say it again, because I think it bears repeating:

Making sure something works right simply isn’t the same as making something that does work right

The accomplishments that I am most proud of at Microvision are not the many bugs I have caught or the test procedures I have successfully run. My pride is in what I have created. It is Flic firmware version X.37. It is the Automated Testing Fixture software. I know that in my role as a tester, I have helped create a higher quality product. But I don’t feel ownership for that product in the same way that I do for projects that I actually wrote code for.

I imagine it is similar to the feeling of ownership that I have over the recently completed 3D VGA card project I did with a partner in CSE 467, Advanced Digital Design, compared to the feeling of ownership that the excellent TA feels over our project: He certainly helped eliminate bugs, but it isn’t his creation. I fear that as a Software Developer in Test, I will miss that ownership, and the passion that goes with it.

In the end I want to be able to point to something important and say “I made that.”

Google Kirkland Hiring Committee


Google Interview